Mice help the mentally ill

April 30th, 2008 - 11:42 am ICT by admin  

Washington, April 30 (IANS) A new model of mouse behaviour developed by Japanese scientists is likely to help in better diagnosis and evaluation of depressive disorders in people. Researchers from University of Tokyo and Osaka Bioscience Institute evaluated a holistic approach to assess mouse behaviour, and threw up interesting results.

For example, a 24-hour monitoring of the rodents by pressure sensors, after a gene regulating the circadian rhythm was removed, was found to be similar to that previously observed by the team in humans suffering from major depressive disorder.

The lifestyle of the mouse was monitored by the Osaka Institute in a way comparable with that of humans. Each and every move of the rodents was recorded and collected over a 24-hour period.

Similarly, the Tokyo University team evaluated the lifestyle of healthy humans by monitoring their wrist activity for more than 24 hours and plotting similar graphs of probabilities of large and small moves.

The surprising discovery came when the team compared the probabilities of durations between mice and humans and realised that there is no difference in behaviour statistics.

The knowledge of human and mice genome sequences offer unprecedented opportunities for the advancement of psychology and psychiatry.

The findings were published in the journal PLoS ONE.

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